"I could see the embers burning and the fire getting closer. Along with the rolling flames, I could hear the screams and wailing. I couldn't open my eyes due to the fire. I wanted to run outside, but once the door was opened, fire burst into the room."
Zhang Ju lay on the ground, and veins covered his forehead. The scars on his face were slightly shaking.
"It was hard to tell where the pain was coming from. I tried my best to run outside. The air was getting thin, I couldn't see anything, and in the end, I fainted in the corridor.
"Fuzzily, I remember someone carrying me out. At that time, I still had some lingering consciousness left."
Fingers dirtied with blood and dirt reached through the air. Zhang Ju used his elbows to support his body.
"I should have been sent to the hospital directly. I think I can remember hearing the conversation between my parents the doctors. I wanted to open my eyes, but when I did, it was a completely dark world that I saw like everything within my sight was charred."
Zhang Ju's voice was slowly returning to normal even though he was still collapsed on the ground.
"I can remember my parents' faces, and I can remember the doctors and nurses that look after me, but I cannot for the life of me remember when I woke up from the fainting, and I cannot remember how I came to this school."
"Is there a chance that actually you haven't woken up from your coma and that you're dreaming up this world?" Chen Ge's question surprised Zhang Ju.
"I still haven't woken up? This is a dream that I've dreamed up?" Zhang Ju repeated what Chen Ge had said. "Then everything here is part of my dream? Even you are just part of my imagination?"
"Imagination your head. That's preposterous. Can you please act normal?" Zhou Tu took the blade away from Zhang Ju. "I don't know about the others, but I am definitely not a part of your imagination. I'll hold onto the blade for you in case you decided to test that theory out on us."
Zhou Tu felt like he was the only normal member of this club, and thus, it was safest for him to have the blade for safekeeping.
"Zhang Ju is not wrong, but there is a detail that he is mistaken about. This world is not his own dream but a collection of many people's negative emotions and despair. It is a nightmare formed from all that." Chen Ge scanned every member's face. "All of you are trapped inside this world, and this world was created by all of you as well."
When Chen Ge said that, the brush was intensely quiet. Everyone looked at him with various expression.
"I know you might not be able to accept that for now, but it's okay, we still have time." Chen Ge carried Wang Yicheng and looked at the wall faraway. "Wang Yicheng's recovery of his memory has attracted the administrators, and now that your memory, Zhang Ju, has started to loosen as well, the admins might come and get us soon. We need to leave as soon as possible." Chen Ge turned around and headed out the brush.
"Wait!" Zhang Ju grabbed the dirt that was reddened by blood and slowly lifted his head. His eyes were zoomed in on Chen Ge. "Who are you? Why are you telling us all this?"
"Who I am is not that important; the important thing is that I can help you escape from this place. Your friends and family have waited long enough for you in real life." Chen Ge smiled. "Actually, I am not unlike you. I am also missing a part of my childhood memory, so when I encountered you, I seemed to have encountered my past self."
Chen Ge sighed with emotion. He led the club members away from the lab and the staff dormitory, following the path to the education block. "The toilet is on the top floor of the education block; I believe the answer we're looking for is there."
The education block on the western campus was only quiet and eerie, but the education block on the eastern campus was filled with danger. By getting close to it, a chill would climb up one's spine.
"Be as quiet as you can. If anything happens here, the consequences will be very serious," Chen Ge whispered.
"What kind of consequences?" Zhou Tu's forehead was sweating. He gripped the blade that had been dug out of the tree hole and bent his back. His eyes looked around, and he was very nervous.
"The eastern campus is used to store the trash from the western campus. Normally, how do we treat trash?" Chen Ge maintained the smile, but the words that he said caused the members to suck in a cold breath. "After we're captured, we will be stripped of everything that we consider valuable and then abandoned. Here, death is a luxury."
There was no taking back a loosened arrow. Chen Ge was the first to head into the education block. Perhaps it was his imagination, but night on the eastern campus felt darker than on the western campus. Stepping on the old staircase, holding the banister that was charred, one could hear the sound of tables and chairs moving from inside the supposedly empty classrooms.
"This place is so scare. I can't imagine it was just a wall away from us." Zhu Long lowered his voice. He walked at the back of the group.
"Shush, don't talk." Zhou Tu, holding the knife, stuck close to Zhang Ju, afraid that this student with a scarred face might suddenly act up. The more he worried about it, the more he felt it might happen, so Zhou Tu had been keeping an eye on Zhang Ju. The latter suddenly stopped moving.
"No, I'm just curious. Why are there so many pictures of doctors on the corridors of the education building?" Zhang Ju lifted his head to look at the pictures on the wall. "We are not a medical school, and these doctors don't appear to be renowned doctors. Many of them don't even have an introduction but pictures of them working in white coats. By the way, have any of you noticed that all of these pictures were taken when they were at work?"
Zhang Ju's words attracted Chen Ge's attention. Previously, he had thought that these pictures were very strange but could not figure out why. Zhang Ju's words reminded him of a possibility.
"The world behind the door is weaved from the door-pusher's memory. This school is very unique; it seems to be made up from the memories of all of its students. So, the pictures of the doctors might have been people that the students encountered in real life." Chen Ge patted Zhang Ju's shoulder lightly. "Pay attention to these pictures. See if there's anyone you recognize."
"To be able to be celebrated like this has to be someone at the top of the field. How would I know someone like that?"
"Here, doctors perhaps have a special meaning. Just follow my instructions." Chen Ge led the members up the stairs. When they passed the third floor, he suddenly stopped. "Stop, there's someone ahead."
The classroom nearest o the third floor's staircase was not locked. The door made from poor quality wood creaked noisily in the wind.
Chen Ge's group stood frozen on the spot. After a while, a shadow exited the classroom.
"That figure looks so familiar. Could it be Chang Gu?"